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Big Build Day on Stile Cop – 24th November 2013

18 November, 2013 at 16:00

Stile Cop Rocks

We’ll be holding another Big Build Day this weekend, on Sunday the 24th November. The cross country and downhill builders will be joining forces to work on the Red course on Stile Cop – we have a huge pile of material and an equally huge pile of rocks to shift into place, and will be making improvements to the red course, including some upgraded TTFs (technical trail features) and improving the surfacing.

We’ll also have plenty of hot food, cakes, and drinks available at lunch time for all volunteers.

If you’re interested in joining us, please read the following carefully. We’re meeting at Stile Cop at 10am, not Birches Valley like we usually do.

When: 10am until 3pm, Sunday 24th November
Where: Stile Cop – postcode WS15 1ND.

That postcode will get you to the correct road, but not the exact location – if you’re driving up Stile Cop Road from the A460 / Hednesford Road, Stile Cop will be on your RIGHT. There should be plenty of room on the fire road, but if it does happen to be full, there’s a car park nearby – if you’re driving up Stile Cop Road from the A460 / Hednesford Road, go past the gate on your right, and take the next left into the car park.

Map with directions from Birches Valley:
Street View image of the fire road entrance:
Street View image of the car park entrance:

The gate will be open from 10am until we pack up at about 3pm. If you’ve been to Stile Cop before, please note that the turning circle at the top will not be available to use – it’ll be reserved for the Gazebo and Land Rover / trailer. Please do not block access to the gate. And finally, please make sure any valuables are hidden from view, inc sat-nav mounts, bikes, etc – the area is pretty remote and quiet.

Big Build Day Oct 2013 – Surfacing the start of a new section…

21 October, 2013 at 13:00

With the last Big Build Day being all the way back in January 2012, we thought it would be a good idea to run another one, so on Sunday, we held 2013’s first BBD. I asked on our Facebook page if anyone planned to turn up and got about five responses, so it was a nice surprise when we had 39 volunteers turn up in the end!

The aim of the day was to surface the beginning of an exciting new 1km descent on the Monkey. While most of the trail has been there for a few years now, Forestry harvesting meant we had to postpone completing it but now we’re having a strong push to get the section completed, hence the silence on the blog – for the past few months we’ve been out working hard every Sunday. Today’s task has helped surface approximately 10% of the trail, so we’ve made good progress so far, but we still have plenty to go – you can help speed it up a bit if you join us on Sundays. 😉


We had previously prepared the ground for surfacing the start of the descent on the BBD (pictured above), but with the immense manpower that was soon finished. The trail corridor was quickly prepared, trimming back branches and marking the line to extend the trail parallel to the fire road – as such, we had to dig the trail from scratch. This extra bit of trail may be relatively straight, but it does twist in and out of the tight trees a little so it keeps you on your toes if you apply some speed. It should be similar to the end of Bomb Hole on Follow the Dog, so if you enjoy that, you’ll enjoy this.


Once that was dug out, we all stopped for a spot of lunch – Andrew’s parents had kindly baked 60 jacket potatoes as well as assorted cupcakes. Very delicious cupcakes, as evidenced by the fact I had 8 of them…

Back to work, we moved on to surfacing the trail. With three piles of material available, a lot of barrowing was in order – which got somewhat interesting as the day went by, due to the work area starting to resemble Glastonbury’s mud. A combination of rain the previous night and lots of foot traffic meant we got the barrows stuck quite a lot. But the hard work paid off – by the end of the day, we had completely flattened all three piles of material, with the end result being….


We’ve put a quick clip showing the whole trail on Instagram (more of that social media malarky 🙂 ) – as you can see we got a fair bit done.

As the whole section still has plenty of work to do before we can open it, we finished the day by brashing the trail – the entire section from start to finish is heavily brashed and completely unridable, so please do not try and ride it, or you’ll cause damage, which means we have to waste time fixing it. Trust us, it’ll be worth the wait in the end!

No XC Trail Building 6th October

3 October, 2013 at 12:00

Most of the Chase Trails regulars are off to Thetford Forest this weekend for the Exposure Lights Dusk ‘Til Dawn bike race. This is a 12 hour event running from 8pm on Saturday until 8am on Sunday.

As such, we’ve decided to cancel the XC trail building.

However, Stile Cop will be holding a build day to work on the Red Route, so why not head over and lend a hand there instead? They meet over at Stile Cop at 10am – click here for directions if you’re not sure where to go.

Birches Valley Car Park now closes at 7pm

1 October, 2013 at 12:00

As it’s now October, and winter is fast approaching, this means Birches Valley will now close at 7pm for the month of October.

If you usually ride in the evenings, please be sure to plan accordingly – the car park gates are shut and locked from 7pm, and you’ll be unable to get your vehicle out until the next day.

Forthcoming Events – October 2013

1 October, 2013 at 11:00

A few events you may be interested in this month:

Sunday 6th October – Chase Trails Downhill Trail Building
10am @ Stile Cop

Thursday 10th October – Chase Trails Mid-week Maintenance
10am @ Swinnerton Cycles Forest Centre, Birches Valley

Saturday 19th October – Evans Ride It Mountain Bike Ride
Starting @ Tackeroo Caravan Site
The RideIt! series are organised Mountain bike and Sportive bike rides that take place twice a month all over Britain. The RideIt! series is a fantastic way to meet like minded cyclists and get out and ride in stunning surroundings.
For more details see

Sunday 20th October – Evans Ride It Road Sportive
Starting @ Tackeroo Caravan Site
The RideIt! series are organised Mountain bike and Sportive bike rides that take place twice a month all over Britain. The RideIt! series is a fantastic way to meet like minded cyclists and get out and ride in stunning surroundings.
For more details see

Sunday 20th October – Chase Trails Big Build Day
10am meeting @ Swinnerton Cycles at Birches Valley
Come and get involved in building a BRAND NEW 1km long descent on the Monkey Trail! It’s been in the making for a number of years and now we’re having a big push to get this exciting new section open as soon as possible. Please come and lend a hand at our next “Big Build Day” to help build the start of this trail. Food and drinks will be provided at lunchtime along with a raffle to win exclusive Chase Trails merchandise. Tools are provided so just come prepared for working outdoors.

Thursday 24th October – Chase Trails Mid-week Maintenance
10am @ Swinnerton Cycles Forest Centre, Birches Valley

Thursday 31st October – Forestry Commission Halloween Forest Fun
10:30am – 12:00 noon meeting @ Birches Valley Café
Halloween Forest Fun – Come and join us for our spoooooky halloween forest fun session at Birches Valley Forest Centre. Bring a pumpkin to carve, have a go at some natural crafts and brave our self led, fearsome forest trail! Come along if you dare!!! Booking essential.

Fill that hole – Trail building

5 May, 2013 at 21:00
Whilst the “race crew” were off racing in the Singletrack 6hr Enduro, it was business as usual for the rest of the crew – trail maintenance on “Snap it”, the section before the “Upper Cliff” descent.
The main issue was the larger hole – we were going to fix it a few weeks back, but decided to leave it in case it improved … evidently, if you’ve ridden in the past few weeks, it hadn’t.
So it was filled with a few dozen large stones then surfaced with material from a nearby “borrow pit” (basically digging suitable material from a nearby source) and wackered flat.
All finished! Lovely and smooth.

Mid-week Maintenance – Trail building

25 April, 2013 at 17:00

With a trail centre as busy as Cannock Chase is, it’s inevitable that things need to be fixed, repaired, patched, and so on, and our Sunday sessions aren’t nearly enough to do all the repairs and building we’d like to, so with that in mind we’re planning to run mid-week build days.

We’re aiming to do these at least twice a month, on the first and last Thursday of the month, if we have people spare – keep an eye out on our website, blog and Facebook page for more info, we’ll be publishing the events there.

The first of these were held today, and both myself (William), Martin, and two new volunteers turned up to help – Chris and Graham. Thanks a lot for coming to help out, it’s very much appreciated and the more hands the better!

We headed out to the first section of the Dog (after you ride under Go Ape’s course), to patch a few holes. As you’re no doubt aware, they almost always turn into puddles after the rain, and as time goes by they become deeper and larger, so – after deploying some signs to warn riders we were working, we chose the biggest holes along the first half or so of the section, and got to work. Patching the trail is simple enough – we use a mattock to loosen the existing surface a bit and then dump a fair few wheelbarrow loads of surfacing material on top – courtesy of the nearby piles of surfacing material.

We then whack it down – first by hand, then with the whacker, and we’re done. Repeat about 5 or so times, and three hours later we’re finished. The material does look a bit orangey red at the moment but as usual, it’ll blend in with the surrounding environment sooner or later.

More photos can be found over on Facebook.

Finally, a quick teaser – this section of Follow the Dog is named “Twist & Shout” – watch out for the new name signs going up – we’ve got plenty to go and we’re getting there, slowly. 🙂


Slip / Slide – Midlands XC Race Report

17 March, 2013 at 22:00
This Sunday saw round 1 of the Midlands XC series race held at Tackeroo on Cannock Chase.

Dave, Petra, Martin, Andrew and myself (William) turned up around 10am at the campsite [Martin and I were there at 8:30am – Andrew] , and while waiting for the race to start, we put up a couple of Chase Trails flags, one of which was right behind the podium. We didn’t take any photos, but TORQ Fitness has a shot of it on Twitter here.

As the race was about to start, we took up positions – Petra at the first crossing on the campsite, and myself and Dave at the second. Martin and Andrew headed down the Dog to take up position just before the Werewolf Drop. Bruce and Jez turned up shortly after the racing had started (Bruce had a valid reason for being late – more on that later), and joined Dave and myself – we had a great spot right next to a ditch and steep bank – this caught out a lot of riders and proved for entertaining viewing throughout the day!
Once the first race was over, Martin and Andrew joined us at the campsite for a spot of lunch, before heading back down to marshal point ‘E’ for the second race of the day – for a change of scenery, I decided to join them. We had a view of one of the descents on the race, and saw some interesting overtaking techniques employed, with quite a few near misses! Martin and Andrew were doing okay so I sneaked off to take a few photos and videos – which you can see on our new Facebook page or here for the videos …. be sure to give it a “Like”!
The racing finished up at around 4:30pm, so after a quick check on the radio to make sure we were okay to head back, we finished up for the day.
Thanks to all the riders who waited while the racers passed by, and of course, thanks to Midlands XC for holding a fun race! Also, apologies to the fellow who turned up from Nuneaton to help build – we did post the “no trail building” notice rather late, so it wasn’t seen as much as we’d hoped.

PS: Bruce’s reason for being late? He was sorting out the Chase Trails Membership Packs. Renewal notices should be going out shortly so keep an eye out, or if you’re not a member you can join via our website here.

"Berm Bailing" – Trail building

23 September, 2012 at 21:00
Today’s trail building involved…laying pipe. We started off the day by adding a quick diversion around where we were working, once that was done, a trench was dug in the berm to drain away the water that had accumulated, then the pipe was dropped in, and covered up (plus the hole inside the berm was made a bit bigger). Finally, a bit of whacking to harden the surface again, and it was ready to be reopened, just as the rain started.
The berm now drains a lot better (hopefully), and since it can double up as conduit, when the trails are eventually tarmac’d and lighting added all the way around, you’ll be able to see at night. Plus, power sockets will be added every 100 meters along the trail to help riders who have that new electronic suspension since they’ll need to charge their bike up all the time..

Okay, I lied, it’s only for drainage. There won’t be tarmac, lights, or power sockets, ever. [Are you sure about that! – Andrew].